Representative John Ratcliffe visited Theron Jones Early Literacy Center Monday, October 16, 2017 to see how the $100 million Apple ConnectED grant had influenced the school.
In a meeting with Representative Ratcliffe, Superintendent, Paul Norton, Apple Executive, Jeff Debrozsi, and Melodie White, Principal of Theron, discussed all the advancements the school has been able to make with the grant over the last 2 years.
Apple donated an iPad to every student, a MacBook and iPad to every teacher, and every room is equipped with an Apple TV and projector. The students have been using the technology to do research, create different projects, and make green screen videos.
White says the technology has been very beneficial in the class rooms. “The teachers are always having to stay one step ahead of the students because they are learning things so quickly,” said White.
Theron Jones is one of 114 schools in the country to receive the ConnectED grant. The $100 million goes towards the hardware, software, and training teachers. The schools selected to receive this grant are usually underserved areas with significant minority populations and face challenges for creating a strong learning environment.
“I like to think of us as Texarkana’s best kept secret,” said White.
The school is only Kindergarten through second grade, they hope the introduction of this new technology and way of teaching will help prepare the students as they move on to middle and high school.
Ratcliffe visited the students in one of the classrooms and was very impressed at what they were doing at such a young age. “It’s an amazing experience to see these students working with the very best technology available,” he said.
“We are building opportunities to building the cyber workforce, and these are the skills these students will need in the future,” said Ratcliffe.